2017 Kia Forte
New front end design and available semi-autonomous featuresby Robert Moore, on LISTEN 11:22
The second-generation Kia Forte was launched in 2013, alongside its Korean counterpart, the K3. Penned by former Audi designed Peter Schreyer, the second-gen Forte is a significant departure from its predecessor in just about any department. Sporting a modern appearance, a more upscale interior, and new engines, the new Forte changed the way consumers think about
badged compacts. The second-gen model received its mid-cycle facelift for the 2017 model year.
From a quick glance, the updated car isn’t that big of a departure from the current Kia Forte, but there are some interesting changes to the front end and the interior. The new trim level is dubbed the “S” trim and is slated to sit between the entry-level LX trim and range-topping EX trim. I won’t go into too much detail yet, but if you’re in the market for a new Kia sedan, I suggest you wait until the 2017 model goes on sale – you’re going to like what the “S” trim has to offer over the LX trim.
With that introduction, let’s dive into the 2017 Kia Forte. Remember it’s not a huge departure from the previous model, so keep an open mind as you read over our review of Kia’s updated sedan.
Updated 06/30/2016: Kia announced prices on on the 2017 Forte sedan which is now available at Kia dealers nationwide. Check out the "Prices" section for the full details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Forte.
2017 Kia Forte
In all reality the grille is about the same width as before, the sides of the grille just don’t slant as far inward as they do on the current model
Kia didn’t change the Forte enough to make it that indistinguishable from the current model. Kia claims that “the tiger nose grille has been extended to connect with the new headlights” I would like to challenge that claim. In all reality the grille is about the same width as before, the sides of the grille just don’t slant as far inward as they do on the current model – giving the grille more of a rectangular shape than before. What was really extended was the headlights. On the 2016 model, there is spacing between the grille and the lower half of the headlight. On this 2017 model, the headlight isn’t quite as tall, and the entire inboard edge of the headlight meets the grille. It gives the car a much better look, but that isn’t all that changes up front.
For the most part, the hood has remained the same. It is able to sit a little lower on the sides thanks to the facts that the headlights aren’t as fat. Those headlights, by the way, still wrap around the front end, terminating on the fenders. Down below, the fascia has been changed dramatically. The fog lights have been moved inward and sit next to the air dam. It should be noted that those fog lights are a bit larger too. Now that the fog lights have been moved inward, Kia added a small air vent on each corner, giving the front end a much sportier look.
The wrap around taillights are more rounded and have more of a clear lens, but that is about the extent of changes on the side.
To the side, there isn’t a whole lot of change to speak of. The mirrors, doors, and that “wide V” body line on the lower portion of doors are all identical to the 2016 model. The wrap around taillights are more rounded and have more of a clear lens, but that is about the extent of changes on the side.
To the rear, there are minor changes. The deck lids has a slightly more pronounced lip, and the tail lights have a double-layered look to them. Down below, a small body line has been added to the corners, giving way to a sportier rear end, and the reflectors have been dropped down a little. The insert on the bottom of the rear fascia has a straight edge on top, and the exhaust outlet is now oval shaped instead of round.
Exterior features are dependent on the trim model at hand. For instance, the new “S” trim receives 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler, and chrome exhaust tip. The EX model receives LED taillights, Smart Key with perimeter approach lighting and 17-inch alloy wheels. Automatic bending headlights are available as an option.
Inside, there isn’t that much change in comparison to the 2016 model. The gill-like styling on the door trim remains and has been added to the passenger side of the dash between the center stack and the passenger dash vent. The seats retain the same general design, however, technology and material features vary by trim level.
LX and S trim levels receive upgraded cloth for the seats, with the S trim receiving exclusive black cloth with white contrast stitching.
LX and S trim levels receive upgraded cloth for the seats, with the S trim receiving exclusive black cloth with white contrast stitching. The S trim also receives a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter. In EX form, the Forte is setup with leather, heated seats that are electronically adjustable in 10 different ways. The EX also comes complete with dual-position memory settings, dual-zone automatic HVAC controls, rear passenger vents, and push-button start with a Smart Key.
S and EX trims also come standard with UVO33 telematics, which is Kia’s infotainment system. It includes a seven-inch touchscreen and connects to mobile devices via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Kia does offer a navigation system in the new Forte, however, it didn’t indulge on which trim levels. It’s safe to assume the base-model LX will be left out, with the S and EX trim levels receiving it as standard or at least as an optional package.
The coolest part of the new Forte is that every trim level comes with Drive Mode Select as a standard feature. This function changes the way the car shifts, accelerates, and performs dependent on your selection. Normal mode is pretty self-explanatory, Eco mode tunes the car to cut back on fuel usage, while sport mode will allow the car to have quick shifting and longer periods between shifts – allowing the car to take advantage of the entire rev range. Naturally, some fuel economy will be sacrificed in Sport mode.
For the 2017 model year, the Kia got rid of that old 1.8-liter four-cylinder. LX and S trim levels receive a new 2.0-liter, Atkinson four-cylinder. Both trim levels come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a six-speed automatic can be optioned, probably at a premium. The EX trim level receives a 2.0-liter, GDI four-cylinder and a six-speed automatic transmission. As Kia put it, the 2.0-liter GDI is “tried-and-true.”
LX and S trim levels receive a new 2.0-liter, Atkinson four-cylinder.
No power figures for the engines have been released yet. Kia really left us hanging on that one. Power ratings and fuel economy figures will be released closer to the official launch date for the 2017 model. Production is said to start sometime in the first six months of 2016, so expect the 2017 model to be released somewhere toward the end of the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter.
As a quick note, Kia also announced that the new S trim would receive a sport-tuned suspension, which means it should be capable of outperforming the other trim levels when it comes to cornering and maneuvers around sharp curves. Of course, it probably won’t put out as much power and torque as the EX trim with its GDI four-cylinder, but that might be worth the sacrifice for that sports suspension.
Kia has yet to release information about airbags, but previous models had side curtain airbags in the front and rear, front airbags for bother passengers, and seat-mounted torso airbags, so I would expect at least that from the 2017 model.
On the optional side of things, the new Forte can be equipped with autonomous emergency braking, front collision warning, lane change warning, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Kia considers these systems as “convenience features,” and some of them are, but don’t put too much faith in them. These systems are designed to be backups in the event that a driver isn’t responding to a potential hazard. All autonomous features are still in the early stages and shouldn’t be relied on just because they are there.
Pricing for the new Kia Forte starts from $16,490, which accounts for a $500 increase compared to the previous model. For this amount you get the LX trim with the manual transmission. For the same version with the automatic, the sticker increases to $17,500. Moving up to the Forte S will require at least $19,200 before options, while the range-topping Forte EX costs $21,200.
|Forte LX||2.0L I4 - 6 M/T||$16,490.00|
|Forte LX||2.0L I4 - 6 A/T||$17,500.00|
|Forte S||2.0L I4 - 6 A/T||$19,200.00|
|Forte EX||2.0L I4 - 6 A/T||$21,200.00|
|Aurora Black Pearl Paint||$295.00|
|Premium Plus Package||$4,490.00|
|Snow White Pearl Paint||$295.00|
|Rear Bumper Appliqué||$75.00|
|Trunk Cargo Hook||$26.00|
|Auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Compass and Homelink®||$350.00|
|Remote Start (Key Start)||$495.00|
|Remote Start (Push-Button Start)||$495.00|
The Honda Civic Sedan was redesigned for the 2016 model year and should compete well with the new Kia Forte. The Civic is available in five different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring. The LX trim level starts out at $18,640 with a six-speed manual, moves up to $19,440 when equipped with a CVT transmission, and commands $20,440 with the CVT and Honda’s semi-autonomous Honda Sensing technology. LX and EX form, the car puts out 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter, DOHC, four-cylinder. In EX-T, EX-L and Touring form, the Civic puts out 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque from a 1.5-liter, DOHC four-cylinder. Moving up to each trim level will increase the starting price by about $1,000, with the range-topping Touring trim starting at $26,500.
Read our full review on the Honda Civic here.
To be honest, I’ve never been that big a fan of Kia products, but I like where Kia is going with the Forte. Just the fact that they are adding a trim level (S trim) that is more sport based with sports suspension is a big deal. The front end redesign definitely provides a sportier look and should be a welcome change compared to the 2016 model – those headlights just weren’t sexy. That new trim level will probably be a big hit as I think a lot of people like to stay away from entry level, but don’t want to pay for the range-topping trim. That said, the extras that come with the S trim should be considered ample if my pricing prediction is correct. I’m curious to see what kind of performance and economy figures the 2017 model will post. They should be at least a little better than the 2016 model.